During graduation weekend at Dartmouth, Peter Robinson, in his capacity as a Trustee, attended a dinner with the 50-year reunion class — the Class of 1960. What struck him most, Peter told me, was the extent to which the talk centered around professors these alums had taken classes from 50 years or more ago.
This report is consistent with my Dartmouth experience, which began less than a decade later. At that time, I firmly believed that the College’s greatest strength was its faculty.
I’m happy to report that my daughter, who graduated this month, has roughly the same view of her professors as a group that I did of mine. There is an unfortunate caveat, though — she felt she needed to avoid certain professors that, based on reputation and/or attending one or two classes, she feared would inject left-wing politics, or simply post-modern gibberish, into the class. As a result, she missed out on certain subject matter she wished to study.
Ultimately, though, the courses one takes matter more than the courses one misses. With that in mind, I thought I would recognize the Dartmouth professors of whom I recall my daughter speaking most highly. The list is based on my recollection over four years of discussion with my daughter and, in a small number of cases, first hand observation. I did not ask my daughter to help compile, or even review, the list. Thus, I may well have left out one or two more of her favorites.
Here is the list of favorites which, because she took multiple courses from several of these professor, encompasses more than half of my daughter’s classes at Dartmouth. (I should add that she had a favorable opinion of nearly all of the remainder of her other professors).
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (no longer at Dartmouth)
*The normally reliable Dartmouth Review lists Madame Sitbon, who teaches Dartmouth students who study in Paris, as one of Dartmouth’s worst professors. Based on reports from my daughter and my own observation of Sitbon’s teaching, and having had lunch with her, I believe this assessment (which appears in the Review unchanged year-after-year) should be revisited.